Rainwater: Made for drinking

An internationally patented Australian product – Raincatcher – allows urban residents to purify their own rainwater to drinkable quality. No mess, no backyard laboratories – just a simple tank system with a tap at its base!

There are many compelling reasons for collecting, purifying and using rainwater in domestic settings: it’s cheaper than buying bottled water, it preserves precious town water supplies during drought conditions, it contains no chemicals and, most importantly, it costs nothing once the hardware has been installed. Raincatcher is a unique stainless steel tank and filtration system designed and made by Kathro Products, a division of Hart to Hart Fabrications in Dandenong, Victoria.

Hart to Hart Fabrications, owned by Sandra and George Hart, has a 20-year pedigree as a provider of stainless steel products to the dairy, wine, brewing, transport and food industries. The Kathro line represents an entry into more consumer-oriented goods designed for retail hardware store distribution, and the Raincatcher is Kathro’s flagship product – an affordable device that has applications in every household.

The Raincatcher is a 230litre stainless steel tank that comprises an innovative dump tank, washable sieve filters (that never need replacing) and all other materials needed to catch and purify rainwater. Tanks are solid but unobtrusive, and are fed from a pipe connected to the roofline guttering.

Every time it rains, water runs off the roof and makes its way into the tank where leaves and other detritus are removed by a diverter, but it is the following stage in the process that is most significant in guaranteeing supreme water quality. The first 18 litres of water entering the tank are siphoned into a small dump tank for slow disposal through the down pipe. This step gets rid of Òinitial water flows” that might be tainted by rooftop impurities and airborne pollutants, allowing only “later rainfall” to make its way into the permanent storage tank following heavy downpours. The system, thanks to this process of discarding first run-off water, makes the Raincatcher ideal for urban applications where residents might have greatest concerns about rainwater quality.

“Some areas can have dirty water problems due to corrosion of household plumbing pipes and water mains pipelines, or are situated near the end of a water mains pipeline which is subject to chlorine build-up,” says Sandra. “These problems are non-existent with the Raincatcher.”

The units are also free from one of the other potential pitfalls of long term water collection: bacterial contamination. Using the company’s vast knowledge of stainless steel systems made for the food and beverage industries, the Raincatcher designers have created a tank that is 100 times less likely to incur bacterial growth than other storage mechanisms. Water in stainless steel tanks does not need to be treated with chemicals to safeguard potability, and accompanying filters can be cleaned easily and safely.

“After the initial purchase of the Raincatcher tank, there are no ongoing costs for replacement parts or water supplies,” says Sandra. “Raincatcher offers suburban residents the option of owning their own water supply. They can also be assured that the water consumed is soft, sparkling and refreshing.”

Most Raincatcher owners use the water for drinking and cooking purposes – just fill up some bottles at the tank every few days and keep them in the fridge or kitchen as desired. Chemical analyses of Raincatcher water have shown it is of the highest quality, and many users appreciate the luxury of having a ready supply of water that is free of chlorine, fluoride and other standard chemical treatments. Units come complete with instructions for DIY installation, and orders can be made directly from Hart to Hart Fabrications.

Story by John Power